Jalen Hurts didn't wait to field a question from a reporter at his press conference on Friday.
Hurts opened with an impassioned plea for over two minutes about the need for change when it comes to gun violence. Friday marked National Gun Violence Awareness Day and the entire Eagles organization wore orange – the color of peace – to raise awareness. The players' special orange-themed T-shirts are available for fans to bid on through NFL Auction. The proceeds will benefit two Philadelphia-based grassroots organizations that are tackling the gun violence epidemic head-on – Frontline Dads and Mothers in Charge.
On Monday, the Philadelphia Police Department is hosting a gun buyback event at Lincoln Financial Field from 2-6 PM where people can exchange guns for $100 gift cards funded by the Eagles and the Center for Violence Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. No questions will be asked, and no appointment is needed.
Hurts is one of the faces of the franchise as the team's quarterback. But more importantly, he is a son, a brother, a cousin, a grandson – so much more than a football player to his family and friends.
"When I sit back and think about what happened in Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa; whether it's a grocery store, a hospital, elementary school, that's no place for fear," Hurts said. "I can't even imagine my little cousins not coming home from school, my little sister not coming home from school, my dad not coming home from work.
"You see what we're doing here at the Eagles ... I just wanted to own my impact with that because I know it's something that we all feel and I know ultimately it impacts everybody. Everybody is impacted by it one way or another. Everyone sitting here may have kids, someone they love. It all matters whether that be just spreading love, appreciating what you have, but ultimately getting this artillery off the streets and making true change and that's something we urge in all our communities, in the community of Philadelphia.
"It's got to change," he urged. "Something's got to change."
Hurts seeks to make change through service. Earlier this week, Hurts and the entire Eagles organization participated in the Playground Build at James Rhoads Elementary School in West Philadelphia. Hurts painted a mural wall alongside school-aged children.
"We have opportunities to spread hope, love, encouragement, and uplift those around us. I take that to heart. Being able to spend time with a kid means the world to me," Hurts said. "Some kids get to a point where they lose hope. There's so much negativity out there they feel like that's the easy route to go but it doesn't have to be like that. It doesn't have to be like that."